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Sidney Crosby joins Alex Ovechkin in 1,000-point club

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USA Today Sports

Sidney Crosby joins Alex Ovechkin in 1,000-point club

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby is the newest member of the NHL's 1,000-point club.

The Pittsburgh Penguins star became the 86th player in league history to reach 1,000 career points when he assisted on Chris Kunitz's goal 6:28 into the first period on Thursday night against Winnipeg.

Crosby's helper gave him 632 assists to go with 368 goals.

Crosby reached the milestone in 757 games, making him the 12th fastest to the mark.

The sellout crowd at PPG Paints Arena erupted when Kunitz pounded a feed from Crosby into the wide open net to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead.

Crosby saluted the crowd during the next stoppage in play.

Crosby is the third Penguin to reach 1,000 points with the franchise, joining Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.

Crosby's 1,000th point comes 36 days after rival Alexander Ovechkin registered his 1,000th point, doing so on Jan. 11 against Crosby and the Penguins. It took Ovechkin 880 games to reach 1,000 points.

RELATED: UPDATED NHL POWER RANKINGS

CSN's Troy Machir contributed to this story.

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Thumbs up, thumbs down: Jakub Vrana looks every bit the NHLer

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USA TODAY Sports

Thumbs up, thumbs down: Jakub Vrana looks every bit the NHLer

 

Washington earned its first victory of the preseason with a 4-2 win in Montreal. The Canadiens battled back from a 2-0 deficit, but Devante Smith-Pelly scored the game-winner late in the third period.

Here are the players who stood out for the Caps:

Thumbs up

Jakub Vrana: Vrana was a factor as soon as the puck dropped. He showed good speed and created several early opportunities. He even recorded a goal as he tried to set up Evgeny Kuznetsov in the slot. The pass deflected off a defenseman’s stick and into the net. This game was a big step forward for Vrana’s chances of landing in the top-six and two steps forward for him making the team.

RELATED: IS OVECHKIN SWITCHING GEAR BRANDS? 

Evgeny Kuznetsov: I would say Kuznetsov looks like a lock to make the roster. When this game started, there were times where he made everyone around him look like they were going at only half-speed.

Madison Bowey: Bowey very easily could have scored with a good early opportunity from the high-slot even if Carey Price made it look like a routine save. Even so, Bowey showed very good offensive instincts and earned an assist on Kuznetsov’s goal with the breakout pass. His defensive game was not as strong, but overall it was a good night that may have just earned him the inside track on roster spot.

Pheonix Copley: If the Capitals are considering trading Philipp Grubauer, they will have some peace of mind given how well Copley performed. He calmly stopped 21 of the 20 shots he faced with the only goal coming on a backdoor power play shot from Max Pacioretty. 

Thumbs down

Jyrki Jokipakka: Jokipakka is not just competing for playing time, he is trying to convince Washington to give him a contract. He is no closer to that goal after his performance in Montreal. The Canadiens’ forwards feasted on Jokipakka from start to finish. They were able to maneuver around him with relative ease as he over-committed on dekes and looked slow on his feet.

Penalties: Another 12 penalties. It is going to be a long, long season if this keeps up.

Jonas Siegenthaler: Overall, it was a pretty good night for the Swiss defenseman, but he tried to sit on the wrong bench and that is just embarrassing.


MORE CAPITALS: VRANA IS TRYING TO IGNORE THE PRESSURE

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Is Alex Ovechkin about to switch equipment brands—again?

Is Alex Ovechkin about to switch equipment brands—again?

Although Alex Ovechkin has four more seasons on his contract with the Capitals, the star winger is a free agent when it comes to equipment.

The six-year deal that Ovechkin signed with equipment manufacturer Bauer in 2011 has expired, CSN confirmed on Wednesday.  

In recent days, No. 8 has been spotted at practice experimenting with CCM gear. The Montreal-based equipment company currently has Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Brent Burns, Carey Price, John Tavares, among other stars, on its endorsement roster.

Ovechkin, of course, burst onto the NHL scene wearing CCM gear earlier in his career.

On Tuesday, Ovechkin tried out a helmet, gloves and stick from CCM. On Wednesday, he was wearing CCM skates during the morning skate ahead of the Caps' preseason game in Montreal. And, yes, the skates featured his trademark yellow laces.

RELATED: OVECHKIN AND KUZNETSOV TEAM UP FOR PRESEASON GAME IN MONTREAL 

According to Ovechkin’s longtime agent, David Abrutyn, the three-time NHL MVP is weighing his options. In fact, during Wednesday’s practice, Ovi alternated between CCM and Bauer gloves.

“Alex has made no decision regarding his equipment partner, but you can expect him to do so in the near future,” Abrutyn told CSN.

Although Abrutyn was tight-lipped about the particulars, his answer would seem to indicate that Ovechkin could still re-up with Bauer, which counts Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Henrik Lundqvist and Auston Matthews among its big-name endorsers.

Here’s what you need to know about hockey equipment deals: While the top guys do get big paychecks for sporting a certain brand, it’s not NBA sneaker money or, for that matter, life-changing dollars for a player like Ovechkin, who will earn $10 million per season over the next four seasons from the Caps. For a player like Ovi, an equipment deal is mostly about finding the skates, sticks and other gear that he feels puts him in position to perform his best.

And right now, he’s free agent in search of best situation for himself. 

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